Why is it that people believe weird things?

500 years ago, demons haunted our world, and incubi and succubi tormented their victims as they lay asleep in their beds.

200 years ago, spirits of the departed made bedside visits.

More recently, green and grey aliens began to molest people in their sleep and abduct them on to alien spacecraft.

What is going on here? Are these mysterious visitors in our world or in our minds?

They are in our minds. All experience is mediated by the brain, which consists of about a hundred billion neurons with a thousand trillion synaptic connections between them. No wonder the brain is capable of such sublime ideas as evolution and big bang cosmology.

But it also means that under a variety of conditions the brain is capable of generating extraordinary experiences that are not real.

Written by Michael Shermer and Pat Linse, The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts (and Gods, Angels, Demons, and Aliens and Why They Float, Fly, and Travel Out of Their Bodies) is a toolkit that can be used to assess the validity of such experiences. It is a freely downloadable off Skeptic.com, and we’re sharing it here too. Click the image below to download the PDFand read through it.

 Why People See Ghosts (PDF download)


  • Bill Perron

    There are many reasons why people see and say stupid things, these are just what Shermer believes after doing his closed minded research to fit an agenda, that is what professional pseudo skeptics do best. Shermer has a history of running from a truth that doesn’t fit his preconceived myopic and rather infantile agenda. I can say this from experience with this rather delusional fellow. Ask him why he refused to look at the evidence that I present from my dealings with his “hero”, his “inspiration”, his “spiritual leader,” (which I find contradictory since atheists aren’t supposed to believe in spirits) The Annoying Randi, (at least that is what Mark Edwards told me was his name) and after accepting my challenge for his disingenuous publicity stunt million dollars then the coward lied to weasel out after I insisted we video tape the whole procedure in case I needed it as evidence to collect my money. Randi, as usual, blatantly lied by posting at his web site that “Perron is disqualified because he refuses to have any photos taken.” Anyone with half a brain could lie better than that, as I said, blatant.That is the kind of character Shermer admits freely is his hero, a lying fraud, some hero, some spiritual leader, some psychological loser!!! Problem for all these professional thought nazis is I can and will be glad to freely share this proof with anyone interested, you can draw for yourself your own conclusions. Remember there are always more than one side to all stories, and my story is fun to tell because it is fun to right a wrong, and fun to always tell the truth.

  • Jim Fox

    Oh Bill- stop being a plonker- life’s too short!